Dealing with household asbestos

In its bonded form, asbestos containing materials are considered relatively stable. However, they can pose a potential health risk where they are damaged, weathered or disturbed. Proper maintenance, handling and disposal of asbestos waste is critical to avoid any potential risks. This page explains what to do when you find asbestos.

There are two types of asbestos

  • friable asbestos material means any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry
  • bonded asbestos material (non-friable asbestos material) means any material, other than friable asbestos material, that contains asbestos

What to do if you find asbestos

If your house was built before 1987, it’s likely to contain asbestos. Asbestos materials in and around the home are often best left alone if they are in good condition and unlikely to get damaged.

If you are thinking about renovating or doing home maintenance, read the Working safely with asbestos around the home (PDF 3.1MB) factsheet before you start.

To remove any friable asbestos, or more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos from your home, the asbestos removal contractor that you engage must be licensed.

Visit asbestosawareness.com.au or call 1800 Asbestos (1800 272 378) for more information. 

Finding fibro in soil at home

Safework NSW’s How to deal with asbestos fibro in soil at home (PDF 148KB) informs you of ways to safely handle and dispose of asbestos you find in soil at home.

Where to dispose of asbestos

Find out about waste facilities that will accept asbestos in your region.

Phone first - always contact the landfill in advance to check:

  • whether asbestos is accepted
  • any requirements for delivery

Some places require 24 hours’ notice. They may also have rules about how you package and deliver the asbestos.

Legal requirements for managing household asbestos waste

Packaging and storing asbestos

Asbestos waste means any waste that contains asbestos.

Asbestos waste must be stored on your premises in a manner that does not pose a risk to people or the environment. For more information about how to package asbestos waste, see the factsheets on asbestosawareness.com.au.

Transporting and disposing of asbestos

IMPORTANT

As the owner of the waste, you are responsible for ensuring your asbestos waste is disposed of lawfully, even if you pay someone to take it away for you. Make sure your contractor gives you a copy of the disposal receipt.

  • Bonded asbestos material must be securely packaged
  • Friable asbestos material must be kept in a sealed container 
  • Asbestos-contaminated soils must be wetted down
  • All asbestos waste must be transported in a part of the vehicle that is covered and leak-proof
  • All asbestos waste must be disposed of at a landfill site that can lawfully receive it

Tracking of asbestos waste

If you have over 100 kilograms or 10 square metres of asbestos waste to dispose of, the person transporting the load to the landfill must create a unique consignment number and report it to the EPA using WasteLocate. (link to http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/wasteregulation/wastelocate-asbestos.htm)

To make sure your asbestos made it to the right place, ask your contractor for the WasteLocate consignment number. Then track your load on to wastelocate.epa.nsw.gov.au.

It is illegal

  • to dispose of asbestos waste in domestic kerbside bins. It is dangerous for Council staff and can contaminate otherwise recyclable waste streams.
  • to reuse, recycle or illegally dump asbestos products or asbestos contaminated waste not to comply with the requirements listed above

Penalties for breaking the law

Fines of up to $7,500 (individual) and $15,000 (company) apply if you do the wrong thing with asbestos waste. Penalties of up to $1,000,000 apply if the matter is heard in court.

The EPA or local council can also issue clean-up notices and prevention notices which require landowners and/or polluters to address pollution incidents. If you are served with a clean-up notice, you must pay for the cost of cleaning up and safely disposing of the waste.

Who regulates asbestos waste

Broadly:

Homes with loose-fill asbestos

Loose-fill asbestos is raw crushed asbestos which was installed as ceiling insulation in some NSW homes in the 1960s and 70s. The NSW Government has determined that homes containing this type of asbestos need to be demolished and comprehensive site remediation carried out to ensure the health and safety of the NSW community. In August 2015, NSW Fair Trading established the Voluntary Purchase and Demolition Program to identify homes containing this type of asbestos and conduct appropriate remediation.

If you are concerned that your home contains loose-fill asbestos, visit the Voluntary Purchase and Demolition Program site for more information.

More information

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